James Rada, Jr.

Rain the night before gave way to sun and heat for the annual Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day on June 24, 2017. Events took place throughout the day, beginning with the Vigilant Hose Company’s breakfast that started at 6:00 a.m. and ending with the last boom of the fireworks around 9:45 p.m.

During the day, dozens of food and craft vendors were set up in Community Park. Visitors could browse the offerings in between participating in events like the horseshoe competition, greased pig chase, and bike rodeo.

Jill Long moved to Emmitsburg three years ago and has attended Heritage Day every year. She really looks forward to it. “It’s really nice to have this available for people. It shows community pride when businesses and people come out and support this.”

Outside of the park, visitors stocked up on books at the library book sale, voted for the best entries in the car show, and toured one of the local museums.

Entertainers performed at Community Park, singing to the visitors. The headline acts were “Mr. Charisma” and Elvis, who presented music in the styles of Dean Martin, Buddy Holly, and Elvis Presley. There was even a dance at the Basilica of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, featuring the music of the Frederick Camerata. Other live entertainment that played at the Community Park bandstand was the Home Comfort Band, the CCC Praise Band, Commendable Effort, and the Harmony Cornet Band.

Ashley Hewitt attends Heritage Day every year with her family. They can find something for each member of the family to enjoy. In fact, there’s so much going on, they have to take a break in the middle of the day to let the kids rest before returning to the park for more.

“I think it was bigger this year than it has been in previous years,” Hewitt said.

Some new activities were offered this year, including a Civil War tea and carriage history tours of Emmitsburg. Community Heritage Day is coordinated each year by the Emmitsburg Lions Club, but would not be possible without generous community support. Platinum sponsors of this year’s event that donated at least $500 to Heritage Day are the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association, Emmitsburg Glass, Mount St. Mary’s University, William and Bonita Portier, Emmitsburg Ambulance Company, Melissa Wetzel, the Tommy West Foundation, Don and Libby Briggs, Emmitsburg Lions Club, the Town of Emmitsburg, American Legion Post 121, Knights of Columbus Brute Council 1860, Frederick Bicycle Coalition, and More Riding Bicycles and Building Trails.

Winners of this year’s games are: Greased Pig Chase — Malakai Andrews (ages 1-6), Lucien Ridenour (ages 7-11), John Lane (ages 12-16), and TJ Burns (ages 17 and older); Sack Race Singles — Phoenix Smith–1st place and Irene Trexler–2nd place (ages 1-4), Addison Welch–1st place and Thomas Love–2nd place (ages 5-8), Erin Gregg–1st place and Krystal Lane–2nd place (ages 9-12), Michael DiIulil–1st place and Jedn Pembroke–2nd place (ages 13-16), Logan Gregg–1st place and Jack McCarthy–2nd place (ages 17 and up); Sack Race Doubles — Madison Ott/Madelynn Myers–1st place and Savanna Phebus/Emma Annadale–2nd place (ages 5-8), Adrian Febus/Deondre Febus–1st place and Jazmyne Howar/Lucien Ridenour–2nd (ages 9-12), Thomas Lowe/Mathias Buchheister–1st place and Zoe Ridenour/Jean Pembroke–2nd place (ages 13-16), Dan Goetz/Nathan Goetz–1st place and Mary Fran Gregg/Logan Gregg–2nd place (17 and older); Egg Toss — Adrian Febus/Deondre Febus–1st place tie, Dan Goetz/Nathan Goetz–1st place tie; Water Balloon Toss — Adrian Febus/Deondre Febus–1st place and Abby McCarthy/David McCarthy– 2nd place; Pie Eating Contest —Jameson Ebaugh–1st place and Keane Burns and Cora From tie for 2nd place (ages up to 4 years), Thomas Love–1st place and Raphael DiIulio–2nd place (ages 5-8), Finnian Ridenour tied with Blake Cool–1st place (ages 9-12), Jean Pembroke– 1st place and Mathew Knox–2nd place (ages 13-16), Jack McCarthy– 1st place and Rose Samples–2nd place (17 years and older).

Kids give it their all, determined to break through the finishline during the much-anticipated Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day sack races.

On June 14, 2017, a Flag Day Ceremony at Thurmont’s Memorial Park was hosted by the communities of Emmitsburg and Thurmont, with the support of Thurmont American Legion Post 168, Emmitsburg American Legion Post 121, Thurmont Amvets Post 7, and Emmitsburg VFW Post 6658. Area Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Cub Scouts, Brownies, and Venture Crew helped with the Flag Retirement portion of the ceremony. Thanks to those representing our Veterans organizations and Scouts for helping celebrate the 240th Anniversary of the adoption of the United States flag by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.

James Rada, Jr.

While the cost of solar energy from Emmitsburg’s two solar farms cost more than power purchased from First Energy, the cost of using solar is so much less that it created a savings of $72,000 for the Town of Emmitsburg last year.

Questions have been raised in town meetings and in print as to whether switching much of the town’s power consumption to solar energy was worth it. Much of this seems based on the fact that a kilowatt hour of solar energy costs around .08092 cents, while only costing the town around .06481 cents from First Energy. This is true. The actual cost of solar power is more, although the actual difference varies as the cost of power purchased from First Energy changes multiple times in a year.

However, as Town Accountant Cole Tabler points out in an analysis of the town’s energy costs, “[T]he true savings from solar are in the consumption charges that are greatly reduced or eliminated.”

This conclusion is based on an examination of the town’s actual energy bills. The costs without solar power are estimated based on First Energy’s bills alone. When Emmitsburg switched to using solar energy for its power needs, six taxes and surcharges were eliminated from their bills. These are the: Administrative Credit, Cogeneration PURPA Surcharge, Franchise Tax, EmPower MD Surcharge, Demand Resource Surcharge, and MD Environmental Surcharge. Also, three other charges and taxes are minimized because the power being purchased from First Energy is minimized. These are the: Distribution Surcharge, Maryland Sales Tax, and Electric Universal Service Fee.

In FY2016—from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016—the Town of Emmitsburg consumed 1,657,216 kWh among its twenty accounts. This usage includes the higher consumption of the town’s new wastewater treatment plant.

The cost of power (including solar) for FY2016 was $134,100 (rounded to the nearest $100). In addition, the extra taxes and surcharges on the power bills amounted to $68,000 (rounded). So, the total amount that the town paid for its power last year was $202,100.

To get an estimate of what the town would have paid for its power if it had been entirely drawn from First Energy, the total usage was multiplied by the prevailing rate. This changed multiple times throughout the year, so an average cost of .06481 cents/kWh was used. Using this rate, the energy cost last year was $107,400 (rounded). This is $26,700 less than it cost for solar.

The taxes and surcharges on that amount of power purchased from First Energy would have been $167,300 (rounded) or $99,300 more than the town paid for solar.

The bottom line is: Without using solar energy, the town would have paid $274,700 for its power last year, compared to what it actually paid ($202,100).

By converting to solar power, the town saved $72,600.

Looked at in a different way, the town would have had to been paying .02099 cents/kWh or less for switching to solar power to have been a loss.


JUNE 2017


FY2018 Budget Approved

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved a $3.3 million budget for Fiscal Year 2018, with no increase in the property tax rate.

The new budget includes $1,743,959 in the general fund, which is about a $55,000 increase over FY2017. Property tax rates have not increased since 2005.

The water fund has decreased from $555,510 last year to $510,000 this year. This is due to people using less water.

The sewer fund has increased from $987,900 last year to $1,000,500 this year.

You can view the budget in detail at the town office.


Farmer’s Market Every Friday

The Emmitsburg Farmer’s Market is now ongoing every Friday evening, from 3:00-6:00 p.m., at 302 South Seton Avenue. Items offered may include: fruits, vegetables, dried and cut flowers, container plants, berries, nuts, eggs, honey, milk, cheese cider, preserves, meats, fish, and baked goods. The market will continue until late September. For more information, call 301-600-6303 or e-mail anaill@emmitsburgmd.gov.


Use the Footbridge

Due to the ongoing work on Route 140 at Flat Run, there is now a footbridge over Flat Run and a paved asphalt path leading to it, for pedestrian use. All pedestrians must use this footbridge. The sidewalk on the north side is closed.


Town Block Party

Although the Emmitsburg pool is closed this season, the town is still sponsoring pool parties, which have been renamed block parties. The next one is on July 21, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Community Park.


FY2018 Budget Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners unanimously approved a $12.6 million budget for Fiscal Year 2018, with no increase in the property tax rate. The real property tax rate has been set at $0.2849 per $100 of assessed value, and the personal property tax rate has been set at $0.62 per $100 of assessed value.

The new budget includes general fund expenditures of $3,445,855, with a capital budget of $301,000. The water fund has $830,791 in expenditures and $82,500 in the capital budget. The wastewater fund has $1,406,379 in expenditures and $186,825 in the capital budget. The electric fund has $6,122,787 in expenditures and $269,700 in the capital fund.

You can view the budget in detail at the town office.


Abuse Commission Formed

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners voted unanimously in June to establish a new town commission to help the town better deal with the problems associated with drug abuse.

“We have multiple people that have been impacted and want to make a difference; they need a place to go and have a formalized support by their local government,” Burns said. The commission is now seeking members. Anyone interested should contact Commissioner Marty Burns at mburns@thurmont.com.


Commissioners Seek Sidewalk to Library

As part of the Thurmont Community Development Block Gap (CDBG) fund, the commissioners are seeking an ADA compliant sidewalk, adjacent to Moser Road. The area currently has no sidewalk, yet the area is heavily traveled by pedestrians going to and from the Thurmont Regional Library. The sidewalk would also connect the library to a 55+ community and the Thurmont Trolley Trail along Moser Road.

The town is not seeking funds for the sidewalks. They are requesting that CDBG fund the ADA curb ramps and crossing warning devices. Funding for the rest of the project is being requested from Frederick County and the town’s highway user revenues.

The entire sidewalk project is estimated to cost $180,000.


Mayor John Kinnaird

I am writing from the Maryland Municipal League Annual Summer Conference in Ocean City. This is my eighth time at the summer conference, and it looks like this trip will be as exciting and informative as all the others. The four days are filled with meetings, discussion groups, and classes, all of which help our elected officials better understand the responsibilities and mechanics of serving our communities. One of the best things I have found is that we get the chance to speak with others and see how they address issues in their communities; but more importantly, we see firsthand that other communities generally have much bigger issues than we have to contend with. The opportunity to meet face-to-face with many of our elected state officials and the heads of State agencies is another advantage of attending these conferences. This gives us a direct line of contact with those that can have a positive impact on how Thurmont fares when dealing on the state level, as well as with the many grants and funding opportunities of which we take advantage. My thanks to Commissioner Hamrick, CAO Jim Humerick, Kelly Duty, and Vickie Grinder for attending this year’s conference and expanding their knowledge of governmental issues and for increasing their networking contacts.

Two weeks ago, I sat down with representatives of seven Frederick County municipalities to help assign Project Open Space (POS) funding to our communities. POS funds are monies granted to counties by the State of Maryland to be used to enhance open space or park lands. Typically the money is split 50-50 between Frederick County and the municipalities. This year, a little over $507,922 in funding was available to municipalities in Frederick County. Of that amount, $126,981 was available for the acquisition of park land and $380,941 was available for improvements to existing parks.  I am happy to announce that Thurmont was able to garner a total of $107,000 for two projects we applied for: $89,000 will be used to help complete the All Inclusive Playground at the East End Park (more about that later), and $18,900 will fund the installation of an ADA-compliant restroom facility at the East End Park. It is always an interesting evening when we get together to discuss the POS funds. As you can imagine, there is never enough funds to satisfy everyone’s requests. This year, there was almost $800,000 in requests from the seven municipalities, so it was obvious to the seven of us that we could only fund 50 percent of the proposals. Given this, it would seem to be a real problem. But as I have seen repeatedly, the municipalities are always willing to take less so that others can get funding for their special projects. This year, the Town of Thurmont benefited from this practice and was awarded almost 30 percent of the money available! In past years, we have cut back on our request during the discussions to assist others, and this year we benefited from that courtesy.

Earlier, I mentioned the All Inclusive Playground at the East End Park. This project is a joint venture between the Town and the Catoctin Area Civitan Club. The Civitans made a proposal to establish an All Inclusive Playground last year, and I am happy to say that with funding from both the town and the Civitans, the project is moving forward. The town portion of the initial funding came from Project Open Space; and now with the recently awarded POS funds, we will be able to move the project closer to completion. The first phase of this amazing park has been dedicated and is now open. Be sure to stop for a look and remember that this playground is designed to be used by children with all levels of physical and emotional capabilities. All the equipment can be accessed by children in wheelchairs and walkers, so they can enjoy the thrill of outdoor fun with their friends and family. I want to thank the Catoctin Area Civitan Club for their vision and help in establishing this playground right here in Thurmont.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Guardian Hose Company Carnival, and I hope you have a great time watching the Annual Fireman’s Parade!

As always, I can be reached by email at jkinnaird@thurmont.com, by phone at 301-606-9458, or on Facebook.


 Mayor Don Briggs

In June, the Town of Emmitsburg received the Maryland Green Registry 2017 Leadership Award. Due to a lot of “sweat equity” from lots of people in a body of work, we are very proud of receiving the reward. “Green” is shorthand for living in a more natural way, with a determination to reduce waste, use renewable energy, and enhance walkability through community connectivity. A simple, workable definition of Green is: “use what you need today and save what you don’t need for future generations.” Green is shorthand for sustainability. Sustainability, boiled down, is to keep, hold, or maintain for an extended period of time. Sustainability is nothing new to the crop farmers working the land around us, who plant, grow, reap, and replenish, to then plant again, all the while taking care of their soil. These farmers, like farmers for thousands of years, are renewable energy reliant on the seasons, sun, and water—surface, ground, or rain, and do everything they can to reduce waste. Now is the time to bring that consciousness to our uses.

As a strong impetus to and validation for our sustainability goals, the town was honored to host on separate days the 4th-grade classes of Mother Seton School and Emmitsburg Elementary School. Our special guests moved in small groups throughout the office to meet with staff in four stations: accounting, receptionist–office manager, the town clerk, and mayor’s office, before moving on to the council meeting room. Every student sat in the mayor’s and/or council member’s seats and introduced themselves over the microphones. A mock hearing was conducted before a visit to the Frederick County Fire Museum and Fire Heritage Center, where they climbed aboard.

Coming up are several town-sponsored events in the park. Please check the town website and Facebook page for descriptions, dates, times, and specific locations. Please note on your calendar Tuesday, August 1, from 5:00-8:00 p.m. for National Night Out (NNO) at the field behind the town office. NNO is an annual event that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. This is a new event to Emmitsburg, “but across the nation, different communities host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts, and various other community events, with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits, and much more.”

What is the Impact Club? And what is Blessings in a Backpack to Frederick?

Blessings in a Backpack to Frederick was started by educator Hermine Bernstein, who literally stumbled on the problem in Frederick County of over 11,000 children that are on FARM (Free And Reduced Meals). Hermine saw a greater calling in helping these kids, so she started Blessings in a Backpack to Frederick for children in strained family situations.

The Impact Club is a group of people wanting to contribute to the good of the community. Every quarter, Lib and I, along with 230-plus other residents in Frederick County, donate $100. Every quarter, members nominate community causes from which one is selected by membership vote. For this quarter, Blessings in a Backpack to Frederick was selected and received a $23,600 check.

Community Heritage Day 2017: Thank you to the Lions Club, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Christ’s Community Church, and many businesses and civic organizations in Emmitsburg, for working together to provide a day full of fun and activities, ending with Independence Day Fireworks. Please go to Emmitsburgevents.com for details on a great day of fun.

Finally, the Square revitalization and sidewalk project has begun on the west end of Main Street.

The Child Evangelism Fellowship, the Thurmont Good News Club, and the Thurmont United Methodist Church is sponsoring a free 5-Day Club for children, five through twelve. The club will be held July 10-14, from 10:00-11:30 a.m., at Thurmont United Methodist Church. The club will feature music, games, activities, memory verses, and exciting Bible stories. View the advertisement on page 28 for more information.

Mark your calendars for these upcoming Thurmont Main Street Matinees: July 4—Hacksaw Ridge; July 8—Trouble with the Curve; July 14—Eagles Farewell Tour – Live from Melbourne; July 22—Wild Hogs. Free matinees and free popcorn! View the advertisement on page 20 for more information.

Thurmont Main Street Farmers Market will be held every Saturday, starting June 3 through September 23, 2017, from 9:00 a.m.-noon., at the Municipal Parking Lot on South Center Street (behind the PNC Bank). Market features fresh and locally grown vegetables, fruits, and homemade products. View the advertisement on page 31 for more information.